I confess that a busy schedule isn't the only reason for my infrequent postings recently. A large portion of why I've been quiet is because I just don't want to talk about it. That's unusual for me as I usually want to talk about everything (both online and off) and the dark, twisty stuff more so than anything else. But I just don't. I don't know if I haven't processed all my thoughts or I just am not sure if I want to hear everyone else's, but I just haven't been ready. What is the elephant in the room? Another baby. Or I guess, more specifically, trying to have another baby.
The decision is made. January 3, we have our second first appointment at the fertility clinic. That came only after my OB appointment, multiple surgical appointments to ultimately remove my gallbladder and a few appointments with a particularly bitchy MFM. We are going to try again. I wonder if the dildocam has missed me?
People mostly seem excited when they hear. As usual, we're mostly out of the closet about stuff. I haven't exactly been volunteering the information (see above "I don't want to talk about it.") but people ask and I answer honestly. Yes, we are hoping to have another. "So exciting!" they say. I wish I could muster even a portion of their enthusiasm. Mostly I'm just terrified.
I'm not so much scared to actually try again. At this point, the fertility clinic feels no different to me than grocery shopping; mundane, but necessary. The best I can hope for is someone acting crazy so I have a good story to tell. I really like my R.E. and I know what to expect for the most part. There is always the possibility that David's latest sperm count is even more abysmal than before and we have to go straight to IVF, but as we're fortunate enough to have infertility coverage, that isn't as terrifying as it could be.
I'm not even so scared that it won't work again. The first round of fertility treatments left me anxious and bitchy. Every waking moment was filled with the terror that I would never get to be a mother. That is something I can cross off my list. I know the joy of motherhood and like it so much that I want to do it again. I would be immensely sad not to have another child, but that is no longer the worst thing I can think of.
No, my biggest fear is getting pregnant again, getting sick again, and delivering early again. It could happen even earlier this time- maybe before viability. Maybe my baby won't even make it out of me alive. Maybe it happens around the same time or even a little later, but he or she doesn't make it. Maybe I'll watch my baby die. Maybe even the exact same thing happens and our NICU stay is the same and the baby turns out to be happy and amazing just like Robbie. The difference this time will be sitting at my baby's bedside knowing I took this risk on purpose. Every time a tube is stuffed down his throat or a needle jabbed into his vein, I'll know that I CHOSE this. Indeed, the worst thing I can think of right now is hurting another baby.
Dr. Bitchy (as my MFM shall now be known) says my risk is 12-25% of getting sick again. It "should" happen later. It "should" be less severe. She hopes I can make it to 36 or 37 weeks. I am to count on bed rest at some point. She also made sure to tell us that we needed to be risk takers to do this again; that we had to accept that having another baby meant risking our futures, our marriage, even Robbie's future if we have a disabled child. In her opinion, a disabled child is "worse" than a dead one. I found that impressively offensive, but I know she was trying to prepare us for the (her) worst. I can't imagine spending your days seeing nothing but patients who have gotten bad news would lead to the sunniest outlook on life and pregnancy.
I've been tested 7 ways from Sunday and found to be nothing but perfectly healthy. The girl at the hospital lab made me chuckle when she repeated "this is a lot of blood" over and over again when I had my labs drawn. They were all normal. I dutifully peed in a jug for 24 hours and proved that my kidneys completely recovered from the onslaught the preeclampsia gave them. My MFM was surprised. My kidneys were in worse shape than I knew, but they have completely recovered. She said we gave her "angst" and she'd prefer we adopt for find a surrogate (yes, with that money tree I have growing in the backyard) but that she would sign off on us trying and see us through to the end- whenever that may be.
She's adamant that we can not have a multiple pregnancy. She's very displeased about ART. I'm afraid there's not much to say about that. We haven't prevented pregnancy since Robbie's birth. Two and a half years later, and not so much as a late period. I will discuss with my RE ways to mitigate the risk of multiples, but fertility treatments are a necessity for us, obviously.
I know that there are people who think we're nuts to even try. Hell, I think we're nuts to try. But I also know that it could go the other way. I could go full term and have a nice, fat, healthy, hungry, full-term baby. Or something else entirely could go wrong. Pregnancy is the riskiest time in a woman's life, after all. We've discussed it and done what we can to mitigate our risks (which really consists of losing some weight and praying a lot) and are choosing to go forward.
I know that if things go badly- either really badly or just a little badly- I'm going to feel guilty. I'm going to BE guilty. But I also know that the rewards that come from this risk are unbelievably amazing. As unique as our parenting experience has been, I've never been happier. I want to be a mom again. It's just the getting there that sucks.